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THE BRIX CAFÉ & BISTROT Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Ph: 9417 6114 Words and photos by I-Hua Lim
ABOUT MS I-HUA A HR professional who enjoys living in Melbourne and spends a lot of her time trying
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not to let life get the better of her. This blog is mostly about food…with a bit of travelling, concerts, books, movies and
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occasional writing thrown in.
It seems to be happening more and more often that all the new trendy places
(degustation) of 5 courses, priced at a very reasonable $80.
are located towards the north of Melbourne and that chefs are getting edgier and dare I say it, cooler, with the vast arrays of ink across their bodies.
DINNER Beautiful warm fluffy sourdough and rye bread was to start us off. Agnes and
Tucked away on a side road off busy Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, sits the white
I decided to try a tiny piece of bread each (we are on Paleo diets) and didn’t
washed walls of The Brix Café & Bistrot.
regret it one bit.
Inside, the words bright, classy and funky come into mind all at once.
We had a bottle of the 2011 Cos Clare Riesling ($52.00) to start us off for the evening. After asking the obligatory questions regarding dietary requirements,
Stepping through the front steps, on your right, a pig greets you. It is possibly
the dinner began without a hitch.
the most eye catching decor item in the little café, the Moooi Pig table, which everyone has photographed except me. I wanted to just steal it. Luckily for them, it is a little too large for my handbag. Straight ahead, an amazing still life photograph styled by Keir Vaughn and Emma O’Mara in a garage and photographed by Gerard O’Connor. Who are these amazing stylists you ask? They are the proud owners of this little establishment.
TUCKED AWAY ON A SIDE ROAD OFF BUSY BRUNSWICK STREET IN FITZROY, SITS THE WHITE WASHED WALLS OF THE BRIX CAFÉ & BISTROT. INSIDE, THE WORDS BRIGHT, CLASSY AND FUNKY COME INTO MIND ALL AT ONCE.
Headlining the kitchen, where all things spectacular happen, be it hot, cold or simply with tweezers is Joel Alderson with a work history in the Royal Mail
On offer that night was an optional starter course of fresh oysters ($15 per
Hotel and Attica firmly inked (hehehe) into his resume.
head), which we decided to skip.
The Boy and I had been there the previous Sunday for a late brunch and
So we begin with what Dubecki describes as a Sea Salad: smoked tuna jelly,
were quite impressed with what we had, and as such we were really looking
snapper skin, avruga caviar, enoki mushrooms, pickled mushrooms and ginger,
forward to our dinner the following Wednesday.
puffed wheat, seaweeds and ash.
Thus, we found ourselves there on a sunny Wednesday evening together with
I can’t help but agree with her. As the dish was described to us, we couldn’t
Agnes and Alastair after being told they wouldn’t be able to get us in for a
help but think that nothing with that many things on it should work. But it did.
seating for dinner for 2 weekends. We were on a mission and nothing was going to get in our way. We were there to sample their tasting menu
And this seemed to be the way with all the dishes we tried that night. They
shouldn’t work. There is a thin line between crazy and genius and I think Brix tends to walk on the line. For their second course, my dining companions had the Beef, Oysters, Marrow, Spring Onion, Oyster Mushroom, Sage, Samphire, which they declared as superb.
THE DISHES WE HAD THAT NIGHT SPEAK VOLUMES OF THE QUALITY OF FOOD FROM THEIR KITCHEN STAFF. AS LONG AS THEY STAY, I’LL BE BACK FOR MORE OUTRAGEOUS COMBINATIONS FOR DINNER.
They couldn’t decide which of the three beef elements were the best. Tough choices, as they had the beautifully cured beef, ox tail and bone marrow. Whilst they dined and debated on the best part of their dish, I dined on my
Sous vide the venison and it will have no chance but to taste succulent and
Snapper, Oysters, Oyster Mushrooms, Sage, Samphire, Spring Onion, Lemon
tender. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the dish came adorned with various
vegetables, peas in a pod and clove powder (made with the help of maltodextrin).
The stand out for me on the dish was definitely the two types of oysters,
From where I stood (or sat on that night), the winning dish was the extremely
cooked and raw. The snapper was cooked to perfection as well. The next
tasty Slow Cooked Lamb, Sweetbread, Peas, Baby Cos Lettuce, Roast Onion.
dish was the Boy’s favourite: Venison, Garlic Flower, Carrots, Celery, Raw and Pickled Baby Radish, Pomegranate, Nasturtium, Clove Powder.
The lamb brisket, with meat so soft and fat melting so invitingly, nearly had me turning my back on pork belly forever. It was a sinfully good dish marred only
THEY COULDN’T DECIDE WHICH OF THE THREE BEEF ELEMENTS WERE THE BEST. TOUGH CHOICES, AS THEY HAD THE BEAUTIFULLY CURED BEEF, OX TAIL AND BONE MARROW.
by the presence of peas (no offence, but this one’s personal. I dislike peas). However, with lamb this good, forgiveness and the ability to look beyond is required. The Boy on the other hand, finished all his peas. Agnes was convinced that the powder decorating the plate this time had elements of hoi sin sauce in it and I was convinced that it was aniseed. Turns out
it was a combination of anise, almond meal, kalamata olives and brown sugar.
fraiche served with sourdough. It was very creamy and rich and made me want to curl right up in the corner after finishing the omelette (I skipped the bread).
DESSERT By this stage, I was hankering for dessert. We decided to share the optional
As we weren’t quite ready to leave the establishment, we ordered a Seasonal
cheese course ($15.00) – a pretty gooey mish-mash of washed rind cheese
Tart ($14.00) – chocolate tart and mandarin cream, another very rich dish for
and onion marmalade.
the day which I happily tucked into (quietly ignoring that it was a tart).
For our dessert course, we were served a concoction of banana, chocolate and
To cap a wonderful brunch, we washed it all down with a strong brew of French
rosemary. There seemed to be a running theme with the food that evening.
Breakfast Tea by Mariage Frères. For an establishment that looks unpretentious,
Raw vegetables, roots, edible flowers, ash and assorted powders were a
it has a stellar cast of staff, chefs, and a menu that proclaims loud and clear that
feature in nearly all the dishes.
it is modern, exciting and definitely here to stay!
The dishes we had that night speak volumes of the quality of food from
*Disclaimer: All food ratings & reviews are purely based on my own experiences
their kitchen staff. As long as they stay, I’ll be back for more outrageous
and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit.
combinations for dinner. Food/Cuisine: Contemporary (Modern French) **Five Course Set Menu ($80.00 pp) from Tuesday to Saturday nights and
Dining Style: Bistro
Sunday lunch. Menu changes weekly.
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 8/10 Restaurant ambiance: 8/10
As mentioned, the Boy and I visited The Brix on a Sunday for a rather late
Value for money: 7.25/10
brunch. From their Synesso coffee machine, we ordered two strong café lattes ($4.00 each). The Boy had a delicious Pork Cassoulet of baked egg, persillade
served with rye bread ($19.00).
Tuesday to Thursday: 6pm – late Friday: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – late
As I was on my Paleo diet, the only thing that stood out for me was the Fine
Saturday: 8am – 3pm, 6pm – late
Herb Omelette ($20.00) which had duck confit, peas, cavolo nero and creme
Sunday: 8am – long lunch (3pm)
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True South Brewery 298 Beach Road, Black Rock. Ph: 1300 878 360 Words and photos by Agnes Hon
ABOUT AGNES HON I LIKE TO EAT. SCAN TAG TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE
I LIKE TO COOK. I LIKE TO BAKE. I LIKE TO BLOG.
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I LIKE THE WORD SPORK.
beer bottles all over the garage.
They’ve kept an industrial looking edge, with bare white walls, exposed ceiling pipes, and metal lamp shades, but it’s also bright and airy.
As is to be expected, they’ve both become much more interested in
We also had the Longestines Crocantes – crispy fried school prawns
beer due to their hobby. So when Alastair and I spent a weekend on the
with green chilli and spring onion ($11) because we’re big fans of school
Mornington Peninsula, I made sure I included a couple of brewery visits.
prawns. I loved the crunch of the whole prawns interspersed with bites
And on the way home, we stopped for lunch at True South Brewery in
of spicy chilli and a touch of sourness from the lemon juice squeezed
The True South building used to be an auto garage – but now it’s been
Next we shared a large item, which was the Cordero Patagonica – a dark
converted to a bar, restaurant, function room and a brewery. It is pretty
ale braised lamb shoulder with carrot, coriander and croquettes ($35).
slick inside. They’ve kept an industrial looking edge, with bare white
This dish had other tables peering over and asking the wait staff what
walls, exposed ceiling pipes, and metal lamp shades, but it’s also bright
we had ordered. It was delicious: the large tender pieces of lamb were
and airy. Being a brewery, they have their own range of beers, and also
cooked in a savoury rich sauce and came out sitting on top of fresh
serve Argentinean inspired food.
broad beans. The carrot puree gave it a bit of sweetness and stopped
We must have over a hundred bottles of beer sitting at home. No, we’re not total boozers in this house – it’s due to Alastair and Bro’s homebrew hobby that’s been going strong for over a year. I indulge them in their hobby, even though the big fermenting thingy (technical term) took up residence in the laundry over winter and there are boxes and boxes of
the meat from being overwhelmingly savoury, and the croquettes and After we had a look at the menu, it was recommended that we order
nuts added a bit of crunch.
several dishes to share. After we made our choices, we were brought out some bread and olive oil. I also ordered myself a $15 beer wheel, which
And for pretend healthiness, we also shared a fresh mozzarella and
came with five of their beers for sampling. They were pretty generous
tomato salad ($11) scattered with onions and a drizzle of balsamic
with their pours, so this was definitely a good way to try several of
vinegar. What is it about fresh, creamy mozzarella and sweet tomatoes
that makes such a great combination?
Foodwise, we started with two choices from the small plates part of
We found that service was young, casual and friendly – just right for
the menu. First up we had the Albondigas Picantes – five pork and
the space, and it all added up to a very enjoyable meal. True South also
veal meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce, served with bread ($14). I
hold brewery tours on Saturdays for $20 (bookings necessary) which,
really enjoyed the flavour and spiciness of the sauce, but the meatballs
despite my lack of beer knowledge, even I think could be a fun way to
themselves were a touch dense.
spend an afternoon.
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FLEMINGTON KEBAB HOUSE 301 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Ph: 9376 2767 Words and photos by Kenny Weir
ABOUT KENNY WEIR Consider The Sauce’s Kenny Weir believes the best food in Melbourne – maybe anywhere – is made by the friendliest people for the keenest prices in the city’s western suburbs. He abhors food that is “plated” – he likes his food on a plate, or in a bowl; cutlery optional. days run mostly to vintage jazz, blues, country and pop – and Petula Clark. He supports the Socceroos, All Blacks, Wallabies, Storm,
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Victory, Heart, Phoenix and Rebels – but none so seriously as wondering from where the next feed will come. His co-blogger, Bennie Weir,
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He is a veteran writer, editor, researcher and disc jockey – and, for the past decade, a father. A lifelong music nutjob, his interests these
unsurprisingly has developed abnormally refined tastebuds for a 10-year-old when it comes to multicultural food. Bennie helps heaps with research, proof-reading duties and – more importantly – spotting likely venues for getting on the fang.
This Flemington institution didn’t get a write-up in the whiz-bang new book on Melbourne kebab shops, but it certainly would’ve been a worthy inclusion. It’s never been at the top-tier of our choices for such food, as there are options closer to home.
THE MEAT IS TENDER, PERHAPS NOT CRUSTY AND CRUNCHY ENOUGH, BUT LIGHT ON THE FATTINESS. THE CHILLI DIP IS OF A PLEASANT SPICINESS, FINE AND FRESH AND TANGY, AND GOES FANTASTIC DAB BY DAB WITH THE MEAT.
As well, the last time Bennie and I stuck our noses in the door the prices
My spread of lamb from the spit, two salads, two dips, rice and bread
had crept up, and the previous dad-only visit had left me feeling a little
clocks in at $15.50. There’s only one size, which is a bit of a blow – my
shortchanged in terms of quantity.
plate could feed dad AND son.
So it is with much interest and a little wariness that I enter for a
The meat is tender, perhaps not crusty and crunchy enough, but light
on the fattiness.
The place has had some simple renovations done. It’s homely. Tiles,
The chilli dip is of a pleasant spiciness, fine and fresh and tangy, and
photos of Turkey – the pics tug at my heart. From what I’ve gathered
goes fantastic dab by dab with the meat.
over the years, Turkey is right at the top of the list of countries worth visiting for foodie reasons as well as friendly people and drop-dead
The babaghanous lacks the smokiness that tends to come with coarser
versions, but its smoothness is full of lemony, garlicky tang.
As my dinner ritual unfolds, I relax in the knowledge that the previous
The rice is good, the salad of lettuce, cabbage, carrot and so on is nice
disappointment can be written off as little more than a blip.
This kebab joint is at the top of its game and my meal is excellent.
The other salad – of red capsicum, leaves, olives and even a couple of cubes of fetta cheese – seems a little excess to requirements.
A kebab wrap will cost you $9.50 here. I envy Flemington residents having this place ready as a groovy go-to Meal platters range from non-meat for $13 up to mixed grill for $21.
option to the many Asian eateries surrounding it.
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DE CLIEU 187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy. Ph: 9416 4661 Words and photos by I’m so hungree
ABOUT I’M SO HUNGREE I am a Melbournite with a penchant for sweets, eating my way around Melbourne (and SCAN TAG TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE
the world!). I love good food and photography. I also suffer from ‘Oooh Shiny Thing!’ syndrome. My blog is my pretty eating diary and focuses on eating out experiences. I
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hope you all enjoy reading as much as I enjoy sharing!
As I was born on the 24th of May, this makes me a Gemini. This apparently
At 9:30am though, we managed to get a table inside the slightly dark
means I am, on the good side, energetic, adaptable and chatty. But on the
and moody café. In contrast to a lot of cafés that have been opening
bad side, indecisive and impulsive.
lately, De Clieu is a little more grown up, a little more sombre (not to be translated into boring).
But sometimes impulsiveness can be a good thing, I suppose. Lately I find myself furiously typing dates into my calendar for dinners and brunches
I commented that the green walls felt very army camouflage in colour, and
with friends…and more friends…and more friends. I don’t have a big circle of
with the light fittings and illustrated botanical hanging, it all felt quite retro.
friends, but I tend to be more of the ‘one on one’ type of socialiser, and find bigger groups to be a little daunting at times. Hence lots of dinner dates,
I love what De Clieu has done with its windows, making them multi
hence it gets difficult to squeeze in last minute eating affairs.
purpose and not just letting in light, but also creating extra seating space. They are perfect for summery days and getting lost in an amazing book.
One day however, I just put it out on twitter. I wanted to eat at De Clieu – really soon. I don’t know why, it had just been sitting in my brain teasing me.
The menu is surprisingly elegant, with some curious combinations for breakfast that I had never come across before!
Fortunately for me, Bryan answered my call and a few days later, we were perving on the cute baristas. Such wandering eyes…
When Bryan’s dish came out, I was positively smitten. The Brunch De Clieu is possibly the prettiest and most elegant brunch dish I have ever
I’ve stayed away from De Clieu for a while, as when I do drive by on the
seen. It made me think of what a fine dining restaurant may serve up for
weekends, there are always people pouring out the door, mingling, sipping
breakfast, plated to perfection, with little edible flowers as well.
their coffees, playing on their iPhones, while their doggies sniff at each other. I don’t like waiting.
The Brunch De Clieu was composed of free range bacon, a sunny side
Recommended by The Age Good Food Guide. Just a 30 minute drive out of the city and you can be relaxing with a glass of our award winning Pinot Noir or indulging in produce picked from our gardens that morning. Experience Joseph’s dining during the day, with stunning views over Australia’s largest Parterre garden. Monday - Friday lunch, 2 courses $39.50, 3 course $49.50, Saturday & Sunday lunch, 2 courses $50.00, 3 course $60.00, includes a glass of wine. Scan tag to find out more.
K Road Werribee Vic 3030 Australia Tel: +61 3 9731 4000 Email: Josephs@mansionhotel.com.au www.mansionhotel.com.au
fried egg, cauliflower puree, wild mushrooms, veal jus and sourdough with
pictures and ogle. We settled on two little goodies, a lime syrup and
a trickle of truffle oil. Although it sounds sumptuous and rich, the portion
blueberry friand, and after explaining to Bryan that canele’s are a French
made it look much more reasonable. I had a nibble of the cauliflower puree,
speciality of Bordeaux, obviously, we got a canele.
which was divine. The canele was interesting, although it is described as a French pastry, it I saw black pudding on the menu and jumped for the Boudin Noir. Andrew’s
is possibly one of the most dense cakes I have ever come across. Bryan
choice, black pudding, had grilled asparagus, a confit egg yolk and toasted
and I had to team up to break the canele apart with our wee dessert forks.
ciabatta. I expected the black pudding to be sliced on the side, like I’ve had
Although it was dense, this didn’t convert to heavy, and it was surprisingly
it at other cafés before, so that I could discreetly skip over some of the
sweet. Could really taste the rum and vanilla in it. Mmmm! My parents had
bread, but at De Clieu, it came out evenly spread over the ciabatta already.
travelled through the Bordeaux region two years ago and mum would
Whoopsies. Oh well!
moan at how often they received these desserts, whilst nice, too much gets a bit heavy!
I found the black pudding to be a lot less metallic than some I’ve had, and I love its sweeter and milder flavour. It also had a surprising heat to it, giving
We were both big fans of the friand though, it was light, short and crumbly.
that nice warmth at the back of the throat.
The lime syrup was definitely played up, coming through nice and tarty. It was kind of refreshing as a cake.
The confit egg yolk was an interesting touch and it had the consistency of peanut butter as you spread it over the bread. Thick and delicious. Oh yeah!
De Clieu brings something different to the café scene. It’s not your typical big breakfasts, but something a little more dressy, imaginative and still full
Since both our breakfasts were fairly reasonably sized, and we had been
of flavour. This translates to the little café being packed out on weekend
ogling the glass box suspended in the distance, a floating treasure in some
mornings, which we certainly found as we were leaving, with families and
videogame, we decided to get some sweets.
couples starting to hang around, waiting for seats.
Like children peeking into the closet to see what goodies we would be
So just remember guys, get up early to score yourself a guaranteed seat.
getting for Christmas, we crept up to the dessert display to steal some
Change your lazy weekend sleeps and be impulsive.
Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie Recipe and photos by Kimberly Peterson
About Kimberly Peterson Kimberly Peterson is a Malaysian born living in Melbourne, Australia. She first started her blog “Kimba’s Kitchen” in April 2010 with the initial intention of compiling a collection of favorite recipes passed down from family in Malaysia and new recipes discovered along the way. Not long after, her passion grew into experimenting with recipes out of her comfort zone
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and taking a serious interest in food photography. The rest, as they say, is history - chronicled at:
I am currently approaching week 37 of my pregnancy so I thought I
6. Get over the fact that my belly is huge, my back gets sore easily
should really get onto the cooking and freezing meals stage of my
and my feet get swollen from standing up too long and just cook
preparation for the baby before he decides to pop out!
the meals – getting there!
This whole ‘Cooking and Freezing Frenzy’ I call it involved quite a bit of
To kick start this series of ‘Maternity Friendly Frozen Meals’, I’d like to
preparation. Leading up to today (I cooked four dishes today and froze
share this recipe for Shepherd’s Pie – it is one of the easiest casseroles
them all, but will post recipes one at a time) I had to:
you can ever make and so yummy! I surfed the net for several ideas
1. Convince hubby to let me buy a chest freezer – DONE
on how a Shepherd’s Pie is meant to be cooked and combined those
2. Write a list of dishes I’d like to cook and freeze – DONE
ideas to come up with this recipe. I have to admit I am not always
3. D o a massive shop for groceries at CostCo and buy meat in
100% accurate with my measurements for ingredients but I try my
bulk – DONE
4. Stock up my new chest freezer – DONE
5. Stock up my pantry – DONE
best. I usually tend to taste as I cook so I easily lose track of how much ingredients I actually use.
1 tbsp oil
Preheat oven to 180°C.
150g minced beef 150g minced pork
To make mashed potato topping, place peeled potatoes in a large pot and
100g lamb, chopped into small dices
cover with water. Place lid on pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium
1 cup frozen peas
and let it simmer gently until potatoes are very tender and soft.
1 cup carrots, chopped into small dices 1 red onion, thinly sliced
Drain potatoes and mash with butter and milk, adding salt to taste. Add ¼
1 tsp garlic paste
cup of the grated cheese into the potato mixture. Set aside.
1 tsp parsley paste ½ cup liquid chicken stock
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan, add oil and gently fry sliced red onions
4 tbsp tomato sauce
until fragrant. Add minced garlic, minced parsley and fry for another 1 minute.
2 tbsp caster sugar
Add the minced beef, pork and lamb and stir fry until meat is no longer pink.
4 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Add peas and carrots and stir fry for another few minutes. Add chicken stock,
1 tbsp plain flour
tomato sauce, caster sugar and Worchestershire sauce. Season well with
Salt and pepper to taste
salt and pepper. Add plain flour and gently allow to simmer until the sauce
1kg potatoes, peeled
25g butter ¼ cup milk
Prepare a large casserole dish by spraying the surface with oil. Scoop out the
1 cup grated cheese
meat mixture from the saucepan onto the casserole dish until half full. Top with mashed potato mixture, making sure the sides are well sealed. Top with the remaining grated cheese. Place casserole dish on a baking tray just in case the sauce boils over the dish (so it won’t make a mess in your oven). Cook for approx. 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is nice and golden brown. Serve immediately or divide into portions and freeze for later (like me!).
ss The art of Porchetta Cla m 11 March: 10:30am - 1:30p m, 0p 8:3 m 0p 5:3 : rch 5 Ma n Street, North Melbourne Casa & Bottega 64 Sutto
LITTLE ITALY IN NORTH MELBOURNE
to make the perfect roast 7DAYS BREAKFAST & LUNCH The art of porchetta (or how ts, preparation and cu y, tor his ing lud inc , le) pork, Italian Sty ditional roast pork lunch cooking, culminating in a tra 64 SUTTON STREET or dinner. NORTH MELBOURNE 9322 4750 r casabottega.com.au ch, $55.00 class and dinneCasa & bottega logo 3 colour Cost: $45.00 class and lun au m. SCAN TAG TO facebook.com/casabottega Website: casabottega.co FIND OUT MORE Bookings: 03 9322 4750
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Attica 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea. Ph: 9530 0111 Words and photos by Bryan
ABOUT BRYAN I’m an inquisitive foodie with an Asian palate. I love how food brings people together. SCAN TAG TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE
There is a story behind every meal and I’m constantly trying to find it. Please join my Melbourne-based food journey and let’s get fat together.
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Prior to eating here and writing up this post, I’ve decided not to do any
night, a few of the staff actually on occasion volunteered to help us recap
background homework about the place, its chef and what we should expect.
what’s in our dishes. That’s truly good service, catering to all customers,
Nowadays, I feel that I should consider going back to basics. If you look back
pedantic food bloggers included.
at why I started this blog, you’ll see it’s quite a personal journey of tastes, I did not really plan to sound ‘pro’ or ‘in-the-know’, though I did secretly want
The restaurant’s interior is pretty much free from decoration, it almost
to be widely read. Writing intuitively with feeling is probably the best facet
felt like the inside of a minimalist theatre. Black walls, black ceiling, black
of my blogging style. Now that I look back at some of my posts, I cringe a
curtains, black chairs. And then the tables... smartly tucked-in with pressed
little. Back then, I was trying to sound like I know about the food industry.
whites, and brilliantly spot-lit from above. Perfect for pictures, and so different to the dimly lit atmospheres of most fine dining destinations.
All I know about Attica is that cousin trouble really wanted to eat here
The focus here lies with what’s put in front of you on the table. And from
when they visited Melbourne. And the chef behind the food is Ben Shewry
the way the dishes were presented, it actually made me feel like we were
from New Zealand. And the restaurant is three hatted. Carolyn, fakegf and I
eating edible artworks off a gallery canvas.
chose to eat here to celebrate our collective birthdays. Last year, we did so at Cutler and Co. (my first degustation ever). This might well become our
We started off nicely with a piece of really good bread and unusual butters
expensive yearly tradition.
to accompany it.
It was a Friday night. The girls came in together, while I drove through pouring rain in peak hour traffic down Princes Hwy and Hotham St into Ripponlea to suddenly find a park right in front of the restaurant’s front door, where I quietly wound down the car windows and furtively snapped some pictures. There���s a modicum of initial unease whenever I approach an eating place that I want to blog about. Beneath my usual merry exterior, I inwardly worry about being told off, or sensing discomfort or displeasure from waiting staff.
The focus here lies with what’s put in front of you on the table. and from the way the dishes were presented it actually made me feel like we were eating edible artworks off gallery canvas.
I faced that a few weeks earlier at an upmarket joint in Singapore,
where I read through the chef’s body language that he was clearly not
With the amuse bouche of Crystal Bay Prawn appetiser (pictured far left),
particularly fond of bloggers but was forced to be civil towards me.
I instantly fell in love with the lily-pad like leaves. I confess I did do some homework here identifying the leaf. Initially tried googling ‘nurstachen’...
All that said, it turned out I had nothing to fear in Attica. The staff were
‘erstashen’... and kept coming up with diagrams of human ear canals
wonderful about it – professional, genuine, and helpful, to the point where
(eustachian tubes). In the end, I posted a pic on Twitter, and got my reply
they’d even patiently repeat the names of the dishes for us to note. Often
within a minute: they’re nasturtium leaves.
at these degustation places, there’s no menu and the march of food arrives with the waiter giving a long and sensual prattle of its ingredients
This dish was a beautiful start and primer for the palate. It contained white
and how it was cooked. This leaves me scrambling to remember what the
radish chips, raw mustard seed and Jerusalem artichoke juice. All the elements
dish was so that I can write it up later with the respect it deserves. But that
tasted light and gentle. Crunchy milky prawn flesh, a hint of lime, and a clear
I instantly fell in love with the lily-pad like leaves... In the end, I posted a pic on Twitter, and got my reply within a minute: they’re nasturtium leaves.
So we started in a pond, with nasturtium leaves for lily pads. Then we visited a snow mountain. And now it seems almost as if a sea has been created on our plates. So what does chapter three have in store for us? Marron, Leek, Native Pepper: Western Australian freshwater marron, poached, steamed baby leek, cold pressed mustard oil, native pepper, freshly foraged wild cabbage leaves and cabbage flower buds, mussel
artichoke juice that manages to taste earthy yet cleanly botanical at the
and prosciutto stock (pictured top left).
same time. I really like the idea of chefs foraging for food items that will be unique to Snow Crab (inspired by Mt Taranaki in New Zealand): My eyes widened
each evening’s meal. It gives that personal touch, knowing what’s on your
a fair bit when the waiter described this dish’s Queensland spanner crab,
plate was still in its natural habitat that very morning. And gathering food
lightly steamed, with freeze dried coconut, barberry, salmon roe, verjuice,
that’s in season and found locally feels so sincere.
puffed rice, witlof, and sifted horseradish powder. Carolyn loved the marron. Fakegf loved the stock. And I loved everything All the components, when spoken, seemed to not make sense. Yet the
in front of me. I mean... mussel and prosciutto stock... wow! Eating this
loose crumble of ‘snowflakes’ also teasingly beckons you to try and see for
gave me a sense of myth and fable, a freshness with nature, and a respect
yourself. And by golly, the culinary madness worked, it was wonderful! We
towards what’s growing around us. How often does eating food take you
were collectively dumbfounded at why we loved this dish. Bursts of salty,
to such a place?
tangy, fresh, crunchy, sweet, fluffy, wasabi, fruit, sea and earth... all of that scattered inside an unassuming mound of white. It brought us back to our
A simple dish of potato cooked in the earth it was grown: Virginia Rose
Singaporean selves, where one of us said in Singlish “it’s the dunno wat...
potato from McLaren Vale, cooked for five hours, smoked woodside goat’s
but nice! How come?”.
curd, coconut husk ash, coffee grains and a crispy salt bush.
Ben Shewry takes us inland next, in fact we are taken underground, with a dish cooked the Hāngi way. Hāngi is a traditional New Zealand Māori way of cooking food beneath the earth. Baskets of food are placed over hot stones in a pit and then covered in earth for several hours. Now that I look at it, that doesn’t sound like a simple dish. General consensus around the table was: it’s really, really rich. The potato had an earthy steamed flavour with a dense yet buttery-soft texture. I struggled a
Our first dessert, named after a glacier in New Zealand, evoked a sense of beauty, perspective and sentimentality in me. From its title to the execution of its flavours, I could almost taste what the chef was trying to say.
little with the gamy scent of goat’s curd, but really enjoyed tasting hints of the outback with each nibble of salt bush crisp. The Franz Josef: Caramelised mangoes, eggless coconut meringue, Meat from the Pearl Oyster: Sauteed pearl oyster from Broome, brick of
avocado mint lemon purée, fromage ice cream, young coconut ash, freeze
salted pigtail, shaved radish, dehydrated onion, pickled watermelon rind,
dried coconut, kiwi fruit ice.
broccolini and shiitake mushroom glaze. From here on, I stopped noticing landscape and geographical hints in the rest of our savoury courses, although this one was titled quite poetically. Our meal gains momentum, and with that, it loses a touch of its travel magic. However, the girls enjoyed this offering. The pearl meat reminded me of slices of soft abalone, while the shiitake glaze held gentle hints of Cantonese cooking. And nibbling into pickled watermelon rind elicited a sense of outlandishness.
While it may have looked quite unassuming when it arrived, the beef tongue quickly won our hearts with its tender and beautifully smoked flavour. Artichoke, Salt Baked Celeriac, Pyengana: Globe artichoke, salt baked celeriac, almond and garlic brown butter chips, slow cooked egg, with the cream of a clothbound cheddar from Pyengana in North Tasmania (pictured page 18, bottom right).
Our first dessert, named after a glacier in New Zealand, evoked a sense of beauty, perspective and sentimentality in me. From its title to the execution of its flavours, I could almost taste what the chef was trying to say. I won’t describe what we tasted, but let’s just say my mind was almost fooled into thinking it was eating candied rocks, fruit snow, and wind. Truly unforgettable. Native Fruits of Australia: Poached quandong, lemon aspen, candied roselle, Munthari berries, native currants, desert lime, sprinkled with a crumble of buttered macadamia and apple blossom leaves (pictured left). For the past seven courses, we have been taken on a taste pilgrimage across New Zealand. But our journey ends in the heart of Australia. Our last dish was a coral atoll of native Australian fruits that we have never seen or tasted before. And at its nucleus, an exquisite candied wattleseed custard, eucalypt sheepsmilk yoghurt, and native currant granita. I thought it was an interesting tasting plate of things that we, as residents in Australia by choice, really ought to be familiar with. And I feel humbled that aside for wattleseeds and eucalypts, there is so much more about Australian fruit that I don’t recognise.
We weren’t as fond of this course. Watching the cheese sauce being poured into our plates, we could already smell how rich it was going to be.
Even though I have done absolutely zero research on this restaurant or its
I think quite a number of people with Asian palates seem to struggle with
chef, by the end of this meal, I could sense Ben Shewry’s mindful approach
creamy dishes and sauces. I also notice we usually love it when there’s
towards food. I don’t think he cooks to impress. Instead, I think he puts
some tang in our dishes. Either way, this dish was too rich for our liking,
together dishes that are inspired by nature, landscapes and what’s around
but we enjoyed the nibblets of fried garlic and almonds on top.
us, such that there’s an almost palpable soul found within each dish. It’s cuisine that isn’t hollow. It’s cuisine with meaning and emotion – a style of
Beef Tongue, Vanilla, Parsnip, Lettuce Stems: Purebred Black Angus beef
food that resonates nicely with me. During this meal, it felt like we were
tongue, poached then hot smoked, parsnip purée, pickled cos lettuce
taken to places that are beyond the physicality of taste buds and gut space.
stems, dehydrated Wagyu strips, topped with dill, chervil, parsley and freeze dried blackberries (pictured page 18).
Out of the blue, our waiter curiously handed us a card with a depiction of the New Zealand Pukeko, painted by Ben’s father. It’s a connection to Ben’s
While it may have looked quite unassuming when it arrived, the beef
memory of his home in New Zealand, where the Pukeko, a ‘confident, inquisitive
tongue quickly won our hearts with its tender and beautifully smoked
and vociferous bird’, can be seen plowing the swamplands. A few minutes
flavour. Even the tuft of fresh herbs and fruit on top somehow worked so
later, a nest of edible Pukeko eggs was placed on our table. So as diners, we
well with the meat. Carolyn thought this was one of this year’s best ‘wow!’
walk out with a taste of where it all began, in the form of a Pukeko’s egg, from
main dishes. It’s the smokiness and then the herbs – together, just perfect.
Ben Shewry’s home.
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Truman 381 Montague Street, Albert Park. Ph: 9077 1372 Words and photos by Almost Always Ravenous
ABOUT ALMOST ALWAYS RAVENOUS A twenty something year old Melbourne-born food lover, with the perpetual struggle
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of juggling his life between a demanding day job, an insatiable appetite to eat and satisfy a fastidious palate, and still find time to write a culinary journal and lead a
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somewhat normal life. More often than not, the ravenous stomach prevails!
Another morning trekking across town to Albert Park, yet again to
Connie’s Eggs: Poached eggs in Napoli sauce with chorizo and spinach
satisfy my food needs. The excuse being that I felt obligated to come
on a toasted baguette.
by the all autocratic I-Hua [correction: Crabby Queen] who organised this breakfast. Apologies for those who don’t follow the humour, but for
Smoked Salmon and Asparagus: With one poached egg and salsa verde.
those who do please join in on the evil laughter!
Bryan found this dish enjoyable with “decent smoked salmon, bursts of wild rocket and a good pesto-like salsa verde”, although a little richer
It is always a refreshing pleasure to dine out with other bloggers: topic of
than his original intentions for something light.
conversation is generally about food rather than work, they are generally more tolerant of each other’s camera-whoring, and certainly wouldn’t mind ordering more than one should. The third reason certainly goes against all intentions on healthy eating, but what can I say – we love food, a bit too much. The exterior, with its muted black and white, takes a half-endeavour to be noticed, but shies into the surroundings of the suburban streetscape. The space inside is littered with sparks of retro charm – analogue camera hanging on the wall, book shelf lined with reference books, not to mention the quirky but obviously intended mismatch of crockery and cutlery.
Although heaviness and sweetness was in some excess across the plate, the brioche was no doubt fluffy, indulgently buttery, with knobs of spiced mandarin mascarpone to give some citrusy relief.
There is certainly no shortage of people having their coffee fixes here. Or
Brioche French Toast to share: Trust me to go against all conscious
any shortage of Twitter and SLRs.
intentions for healthy eating, and submit to subliminal butter cravings. Luckily the rest of the table happily approved of this. Although heaviness
Coffees using Di Bella beans to start: latte, flat white, chai latte. Being
and sweetness was in some excess across the plate, the brioche was
nearly two months ago, I would be lying if I could remember exactly how
no doubt fluffy, indulgently buttery, with knobs of spiced mandarin
they tasted, especially given my lack of coffee differentiation. So here is
mascarpone to give some citrusy relief. The crunch of pistachios is
a carbon copy of Bryan’s appraisal: “Were okay… [tasting] balanced and
always a welcome part of any buttery delight though.
safe, with fleeting hints of dark chocolate and copper,” *salutes Bryan*. As if that was not calorific enough, we decided to have a second round The Truman: I ordered one of the favourites on the menu, which presents
of coffees with coffee-alternatives – LSD and Soy Caro. What? LSD? Do
with scrambled eggs, homemade hash served with avocado and relish.
you mean the psychedelic drug LSD? Actually no, it was a Latte Soy
The hash is creamy, soft and dotted with chunkier bits of potato and
Dandelion – a chai without the spice apparently, with hints of dandelion.
leek. The scrambled eggs had a buttery fragrance however were on the
The incredibly nutty overtones of the Soy Caro provided a strong bitter
contrast to the sweet finale. Neither were my cups of tea.
I-Hua opted for extra bacon on top with poached eggs, instead of
scrambled, on her Truman.
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WINE REVIEWS Words and photo by Krystina Menegazzo
ABOUT KRYSTINA MENEGAZZO La Donna del Vino is the pseudonym of this young lady from Melbourne who completed her winemaking degree whilst being a gypsy working in vintages throughout Australia and Italy. Finally she decided to return home and sell wine instead. In her spare time she cooks, eats, drinks buon vino and is a self-confessed Neb Head (someone really into Nebbiolo).
FOSTER E ROCCO Nuovo Sangiovese 2011
mentioned how the texture was akin to licking a green frog. So pretty much
Heathcote, Victoria. RRP $30
he was describing the texture as slippery and wet, and either accidentally confessing to having done such an act, or possibly divulging his Prince
Tis the Christmas season and I suppose that most people would want to
write about a sparkling wine to coincide with the celebrations. It makes
For myself, drinking this Muscadet brought me back to my days in the
sense, but since I am not ‘most people’, and as this is conjointly known as
high school orchestra (I write this secure in the knowledge that I never
the silly season, I drank a delightfully fresh red wine instead. So shoot me.
once attended Band Camp) where I was seated next to the trumpets and
The choice was far from preposterous, mind you, as this is Foster e Rocco’s
trombones. In essence, I was really digging the rich, brassy, yeasty characters
‘Nuovo‘ (new) Sangiovese and one that I can so cleverly link to the ‘New’
that had been derived from the sur lie, or on lees, action that these wines
Year. Geddit? Boom!
are noted for.
The winemaking team of Adam Foster and Lincoln ‘Rocco’ Riley use old
By all means, I could have stuck to the classic food and wine pairing, but
methods of foot stomping in the winery for this batch, but the Beaujolais
it turned out to be more playful to venture within a similar food group and
style of this wine creates one of the freshest new reds that you will find
explore the sensory sensations that evolved when the two were mixed
on the marketplace. It was made in 2011 and I believe that we are still in
together – green frogs and all.
the year 2011. A red wine such as this, bottled and released so early in its
youth, promotes the über quaffable style of Sangiovese with the identifiable black cherry and red liquorice flavours without any tannins inhibiting your
FRANZ HAAS Pinot Bianco 2008
Alto Adige, Italy. RRP $38
Should you prefer to stick to the sparkling wine option for New Year’s celebrations, at least use this flower-adorned label as an offering the next
This Alto Adige wine from the northernmost region in Italy was brought
time that you pop over for dinner. There is nothing more a lady will love than
along to a fabulous dinner at Sosta Cucina in North Melbourne. Pinot Bianco
flowers and wine, especially if you combine it all in one.
wines are generally versatile because they themselves tend to be less perfumed so as to not overpower the food, plus have consistently good
DOMAINE PIERRE DE LA GRANGE Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2009
acidity and texture to suit a range of dishes from fish to Thai to curry to
Loire Valley, France. RRP $22
risotto. That night it was paired to linguine with blue swimmer crab coated in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, golden breadcrumbs and bottarga.
A friend once told me that Muscadet is an occasion wine. Having heard that,
Now that is one fishy dish.
I went about and created an occasion by inviting a friend over for dinner. He
You are not mistaken if you thought that the name Franz Haas sounded less
may have been referring to its desirable food match as the perfect occasion
Italian and more of German or Austrian origin. Ja ja ja, this region borders
in which to drink this wine, but I chose to ignore that part. The Muscadet style
onto Austria and you would be hard-pressed to find someone that does
is said to be the perfect oyster wine, but I like to be a little unconventional
not speak both languages. The grape varieties they tend to use are also
and opted to cook with something way out there. Oh yes. I’m referring to
ones that can easily cross over between the two countries with their high
your pungent friend, the anchovy. There was method to my madness. The
altitude vineyards. The Pinot Bianco in this case has been mostly fermented
salty sea fish flavour of the anchovies matched a beauty and accentuated
in a steel tank with the remainder in small oak barrels. Normally more crisp
the flinty, lemony flavours in the wine.
and flavoured in the ripe apple spectrum in its immediate youth, the 2008
One thing that I enjoy about drinking wine with others is getting to hear
had become a little richer with less overt acidity and white fleshed fruits,
their thoughts on what the smell, taste or texture of the wine reminds them
but more crunchy bread and sweet yellow flower characteristics in its place.
of. Sometimes, it can be completely outside of the box, but they tend to be
Apart from the basic German that I recall from my Year 7 heydays, I can now
the most entertaining whether you agree with them or not. For example,
not only proclaim that, ‘Das ist mein Hamburger’ (that is my hamburger),
when I inquired to my friend as to his opinion on the bottle before us, he
but also that the wine was unquestionably ‘sehr gut’ (very good).
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A world ClAss
Au s H Ch tral osti am ia’s ng pio B n s a ri s hip t a s
By Sarah Wade B.a ll.B
is coming to Australia
EldEr law A growing law in our community? Lawyers are often asked to create a document that allows a person to appoint another person to look after their financial and/or legal needs. This is a straight forward request and normally a very sensible decision on the part of the person, usually an older person, who fears if they become ill or suffer from some form of disability they have someone who will assist them. This document is known as an Enduring
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“coffee iS Not juSt a driNk, it’S a global trade. it haS afforded me the opportuNitY to eNgage with amaziNg people - producerS, traderS, roaSterS aNd equipmeNt maNufacturerS. it iS excitiNg to See aN eveNt that will briNg together all of theSe Stake holderS iN a world-claSS eNviroNmeNt, right here iN auStralia.” Scottie Callaghan World Latte Champion, Australian Barista Champion and Brand Ambassador Belaroma Coffee
Power of Attorney (EPA) (Financial). In most cases preparing an EPA (Financial) is not a problem... or is it? This is the question that is becoming more and more critical for older people and the community to consider. In law there are four types of Powers of Attorney, general, financial, medical treatment, and Guardianship, generally older people request an EPA (Financial). What this means is that they appoint a person, usually someone close to them, such as a family member or friend that they have known and trusted for some years to be their Attorney. The EPA (Financial) is a written document which gives the Attorney, after they sign the document, authority to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of the person who appointed them. It is for this reason when appointing an Attorney that a person must think long and hard about who they will appoint to be their Attorney, as they must have absolute trust and
maY 4th-6th, 2012 melbourNe ShowgrouNdS
confidence in that person. Fortunately in most cases problems do not arise however, one the fastest growing areas of law today is Elder Law which is concerned, amongst other things,
2012 Melbourne International Coffee Expo promises to be a premium experience unlike any other. With 100 coffee industry exhibitors, the 2012 M.I.C.E is the largest dedicated coffee tradeshow ever to be staged in Australia. The event will engage all sectors of the coffee industry, including; green bean traders, wholesale roasters, commercial and domestic equipment, cafés and franchises, coffee equipment, accessories and education and training. The event will host the Australasian Specialty Coffee Association (AASCA) Australian Barista Championships, The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) international coffee awards and other competitions.
with financial abuse and discrimination of elderly people in our society. What is more alarming is this type of abuse can be found near the home or by people close to the older person. An EPA (Financial) can be a classic example of this. A close or old friend may ask for money, and if refused could suggest or influence their friend to have and EPA (Financial) prepared giving him/her power of attorney. What this means is that the close friend now has access to all financials including banking. Unfortunately in life and in the law there are never any simple answers to problems that arise in our community. What we can suggest is that any person, whether elderly, or 18 before you appoint the Attorney ensure that you understand all your rights and the law relating to your EPA (Financial) and most importantly don’t agree to or sign an EPA before you do. At Wade Lawyers we are interested to know what your views are in respect to Elder Law and the growing concerns of financial abuse against older people in our community. Please call our 1800 with your comments
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